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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the current landscape of decentralized and fragmented healthcare services, effective communication between healthcare providers, as well as between providers and patients, is never more critical. Poor communication during transitions of care can result in discontinuity of care and is a major cause of patient harm events. This essay provides an overview of the nature and impact of systemwide communication on patient care. The essay begins by describing the basic elements that make up a communication system and the basic properties associated with effective communication. The context in which clinical communication takes place is then explored and the factors that heighten risk identified. Finally, the implications of communication failures and practical steps for supporting effective communication are reviewed.

Keywords: communication, collaboration, teamwork, continuity of care, care transitions, patient safety

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